Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Sleep Optimism

A team of Duke University researchers examined the brains of 29 healthy volunteers using functional MRI, which tracks changes in blood flow in the brain, while the subjects performed a variety of gambling tasks.

After a full night of sleep, participants behaved like most people tend to in the real world: guarding against financial loses and cautiously pursuing gains.

But when deprived of a night’s sleep (kept awake in the lab from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m.), the volunteers "moved from defending against losses to seeking increased gains," the researchers reported. This shift "suggests an unfounded rise in expectation for gain," a condition the team describes as "an optimism bias." (Source)


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Posted: March 10th, 2011
at 12:18pm by mnp

Categories: science

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Today in History : Big History Project

High schools in the US and Australia can apply for the 2012-2013 pilot phase of the Big History Project here. Check out the application and good luck.

Everything has a history: each person, plant, animal and object, our planet, and the entire universe.

Each history offers valuable insights. Together, they reveal even more. Big history weaves evidence and insights from many scientific and historical disciplines into a single, accessible origin story - one that explores who we are, how we got here, how we are connected to everything around us, and where we may be heading.

The Big History Project is dedicated to fostering a greater love and capacity for learning among high school students. Started by Bill Gates and David Christian our goal is to get big history taught to as many students around the world as possible.

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Posted: March 9th, 2011
at 7:34pm by mnp

Categories: mnp is for the children,science,today in history,education

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You and Your Research

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Richard Hamming, transcription of the  Bell Communications Research Colloquium Seminar  7 March 1986:

Now self-delusion in humans is very, very common. There are enumerable ways of you changing a thing and kidding yourself and making it look some other way. When you ask, "Why didn’t you do such and such," the person has a thousand alibis. If you look at the history of science, usually these days there are 10 people right there ready, and we pay off for the person who is there first. The other nine fellows say, "Well, I had the idea but I didn’t do it and so on and so on." There are so many alibis. Why weren’t you first? Why didn’t you do it right? Don’t try an alibi. Don’t try and kid yourself. You can tell other people all the alibis you want. I don’t mind. But to yourself try to be honest.

If you really want to be a first-class scientist you need to know yourself, your weaknesses, your strengths, and your bad faults, like my egotism. How can you convert a fault to an asset? How can you convert a situation where you haven’t got enough manpower to move into a direction when that’s exactly what you need to do? I say again that I have seen, as I studied the history, the successful scientist changed the viewpoint and what was a defect became an asset.

I claim that some of the reasons why so many people who have greatness within their grasp don’t succeed are: they don’t work on important problems, they don’t become emotionally involved, they don’t try and change what is difficult to some other situation which is easily done but is still important, and they keep giving themselves alibis why they don’t. They keep saying that it is a matter of luck. I’ve told you how easy it is; furthermore I’ve told you how to reform. Therefore, go forth and become great scientists!>

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Posted: March 8th, 2011
at 11:36am by mnp

Categories: science,"ninja",philosophy,education

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10 Ideas for 60 Second Meditations

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Astral projections and other methods from James Altucher:

-Elevator. In an elevator filled with people, take a deep breath, feel your anxiety at not being able to look at your blackberry (everyone else on the elevator is looking at theirs even though there is no reception). Where is the anxiety being felt on your body. How many deep breaths can you do before the elevator reaches its destination.

-Waiting. If you are on line at the store (or waiting for a bus, subway, or stuck in a traffic jam, etc) and feel like you are in a rush, take a deep breath again, ask yourself where you are feeling the pain of being in a rush. Is it in your stomach? Is it in your chest? Your face? Don’t judge it. Just feel it.

-Waking. When you wake up, take three deep breaths, count them. Try to list all of the things you hear that moment. Do you hear cars outside? Birds? Your house creaking? Kids downstairs?

-Alien. Imagine that you are an alien from outerspace and you were just transported into this body ("Quantum Leap" style). You have no idea who you are and you have to start with a completely blank slate. Spend the next minute figuring it out. Do this one five times a day. "Who am I?" "Where am I?" "Who are these people around me?" Figure it out.

-Dishes. Washing dishes is a great one. Stop yourself from daydreaming. Really try to do a good job washing each dish. Not a speck on them. Focus! You just missed a spot! Your only purpose in life is to wash the one dish you are currently working on.

-Surrender. Spend sixty seconds completely dedicating this day to whatever higher power you want to believe in (The Force, God, the Tao, The Supreme Alien Intelligence from the Black Hole that’s at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, etc). They are going to take over your body and mind and do their thing today. Hand over the keys to your body and mind during those sixty seconds and know that today will be dedicated to doing their mission. You are just the vehicle. Thank them.

-Gratitude. Make a list in your head of all the people in your life you are grateful for. Only takes a few minutes, drastically reduces stress.

-Hate. Think of one person you really hate. Now, truly and sincerely wish him the best in your head. This person is just trying to get through life also. Maybe they’ve lost some money, or maybe they are lonely. But there is some suffering that caused them to do the things they did. Wish him or her the best. And mean it. (Don’t pity them. Everyone is suffering. Wish them the best.)

-Tense. Tense every muscle in your body for 5 seconds. Tense as much as you can. Then relax. Feels better, right? Do it again.

-Walking. When you are walking around in the city, if you are anything like me you probably hate most of the people who you pass, even if you don’t know them or have never seen them before. Catch yourself doing that. Try the reverse. Try liking all of them. Not in a patronizing way (i.e. don’t give anyone sympathy). But try to really like them.>

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Posted: March 7th, 2011
at 7:18pm by mnp

Categories: science,health,philosophy

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TED : Patricia Kuhl

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Posted: March 5th, 2011
at 1:42pm by mnp

Categories: mnp is for the children,science

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The Apollo Prophecies and the Mars Adrift on the Hourglass Sea

Karen Irvine, Curator:

Constructivists, Time Travelers, Model Makers, Archeologists, Deconstructivists, Collectors, Photographers, Evocateurs, Postmodernists, Jokesters, Computer Geeks, Actors, Poets, Retro-futurists, Dreamers, Sculptors, Absurdists, Storytellers…

These words appear during the opening credits of Kahn & Selesnick’s film Apollo Prophecies (2005), a documentary on the making of their project by the same name, providing entertaining insight into how the artists fancy themselves. Known for creating whimsical and elaborately constructed photographs, drawings, and sculptures, Nicholas Kahn (American, b. 1964) and Richard Selesnick (American, b. 1964) have been spinning wild visual tales together for more than twenty years. Their practice involves dreaming up complex fictional narratives based on real historical events and injecting them with a wry sense of humor, while sparking new considerations of history and time.

Apollo Prophecies (2004), for example, is based on a reinterpretation of the first world event of historical significance that the two men remember clearly. Both born in 1964, they were five years old when they watched the first American spaceship land on the moon. In their fictional version of the moon landing, the 1960s astronauts arrive on the moon only to discover that someone has beat them there, in this case Edwardian dandies who arrived circa 1905. Partly inspired by literature such as Victor Pelevin’s Omon Ra (1992), Andrew Chaikin’s A Man on the Moon (1998), and the classic French children’s cartoon Tintin, their Apollo project is a compelling mix of elements drawn from historical and science-fictional accounts of the moon landing, and those that Kahn and Selesnick simply dream up.

Kahn & Selesnick’s most recent project, Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea (2010), features two female protagonists wandering aimlessly in a bizarre Martian landscape. As in the Apollo project, someone has been there before them, and they encounter detritus from the mysteriously vacated civilization including pyramids, obelisks, giant balloons, and concrete boats. Comprising photographs taken by NASA’s Mars rovers and by the artists themselves in the Nevada and Utah deserts, these landscapes have a surreal quality. Inspired by Edmund Burke’s quote from 1756: "Terror is in all cases the ruling principle of the sublime," Kahn and Selesnick’s view of humankind and the universe is as frightening as it is beautiful. By blending references to various time periods, both past and future, their work probes our conception of time as a linear phenomenon. In their absurdity and ambiguity they reveal our deep-seated need to cling to what we think we know, and provoke us to let go and experience the fanciful.>

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Posted: March 5th, 2011
at 1:17pm by mnp

Categories: art,space

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Who is a Scientist?

Joseph Rotblat: "a scientist is a human being first, and a scientist second.">

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Posted: March 4th, 2011
at 8:43am by mnp

Categories: science,"ninja",blogs,who is?

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The Strange Powers of the Placebo Effect

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Posted: March 4th, 2011
at 8:37am by mnp

Categories: too good to be true,science,health

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When Will Our Martian Future Get Here?

I mean I have to agree on this one, when will the Disneylands become a reality?

The robots of tomorrow may take a form we can’t imagine, but through their cameras and sensors, we’ll explore along with them. Building data sets with sufficient detail to image large swaths of Martian terrain at centimeter scales is already happening. One can easily imagine a home entertainment system that incorporates both a 3-D, immersive visor and an omni-directional treadmill. Inside this primitive Holodeck, scientists and interested laypeople could wander the Martian landscape at their leisure, seeing what lies over the next hill or in a nearby canyon, without ever leaving the comfort and safety of Earth.

It’s possible that some unforeseeable breakthrough in astronautics will make human spaceflight beyond LEO much easier and less expensive, perhaps within reach of a private consortium of wealthy individuals and corporations. But it seems more likely that in the current century, robots will be the pioneers of the Martian frontier, not humans. Future generations may view our current plans for sending astronauts to Mars as we view an earlier generation’s dreams of personal jet packs and flying cars: technically achievable, but utterly impractical for economic and political reasons.>

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Posted: March 3rd, 2011
at 5:10pm by mnp

Categories: "ninja",space

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